QandA, reinstate the feminist episode from November 4, 2019.

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Katy Warner
Katy Warner signed this petition

On Monday November 4th, QandA broadcast an all-women and non-binary episode as part of the Wheeler Centre’s Festival of Feminist Ideas.

The episode covered many issues of great importance to women, including family violence, and women’s rapes, murders and assaults. It was thought-provoking and different, and a breath of fresh air to hear women frankly discussing issues of critical importance to women’s safety and agency. 

During the episode, Mona Eltahawy swore several times, and made statements that were deliberately provocative as they were designed to make men think about how they’d feel if they were on the receiving end of violence perpetrated by women. Nayuka Gorrie also referenced potential violence (as a hypothetical stance) in her comments about men’s violence. These comments were no more controversial than QandA’s regular airtime given to climate crisis deniers and other extreme viewpoints, and many other controversial and even completely untrue arguments stated by guests on numerous programs.

Despite the fact Mona’s and Nayuka’s comments were designed to be thought-provoking as a way of re-framing the issue of men’s violence, a number of complaints to the show afterwards ensued. Extraordinarily, the ABC took the disgraceful step of removing the episode from iView and issuing a statement deploring the show’s content. 

The double standards here are extraordinary. Alan Jones can call for women to be “back-handed” and to be choked with socks, and commentators like Andrew Bolt, Eddie McGuire, Mark Latham, Prue McSween and Kerri-Anne Kennerley (among others) can be openly racist and call for all kinds of violence and even murder to be committed, with barely a murmur from their employers. Yet a complex, nuanced conversation about a real and damgerous issue has been shut down. Not only that, but those who have shut it down are the same people who scream “free speech” at every opportunity.

Ita Buttrose, Chair of the ABC, has famously stated recently that “political correctness” in Australia has gone too far”. How does she and her colleagues square that view with this sudden removal of a worthwhile program, simply because fewer than several dozen people complained? And how does the ABC expect the general public to care about their #YourRightToKnow campaign, when they so quickly and easily erase the rights of women to hear from those who speak for them? 

The hypocrisy is truly staggering. 

We call on the ABC to immediately reinstate this show to your platforms, and issue an apology to all the women who’re appalled it was deleted. Women are regularly silenced by men (who own most media and other powerful organisations) and this deliberate silencing is both unacceptable and enraging. 

We demand the show is reinstated, and await news that this has occurred. Because it’s OUR ABC - that means ALL OF US, not just a narrow, male-dominated and conservative viewpoint of what is and is not acceptable in Australia in 2019.